SUPERSTARS OF DANCE Misses the Point - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote


January 5, 2009 by  

I’ll admit it – I was really amped up for the premiere of SUPERSTARS OF DANCE. I think by now most of you know my obsession with SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, and since this new show was being produced by the same team, I thought I would just love it. I was wrong. But maybe the issue was me. Maybe it was my constant comparison with SYTYCD that led to my dislike of the show. Maybe…but probably not.

The show wasn’t an epic fail, but the approach was so empty that I’m not sure I’ll be tuning in tonight.

SUPERSTARS OF DANCE is essentially an international dance competition. Eight countries – Argentina, Australia, Ireland, South Africa, Russia, USA, China, and India – compete in group numbers, duets and solo routines and then are scored by judges representing each of the countries. The scores are tabulated over the course of the competition and in the end there will be a winner in each of the categories and one overall country winner.

Unfortunately it’s the competition aspect where it all goes wrong. The dancers dance. Each routine is scored on a scale of 1-10, and the scores are tallied. At no point are the judges allowed to weigh in and provide critique of the routine or any explanation as to why they gave their scores. It all seems very arbitrary. And because of this the viewer at home loses out on what is essentially the point of the entire show – to learn about other cultures through the common language of dance.

That is disappointing.

I’m not a dancer. Never have been and I never will be. But I have come to appreciate the art of dance so much through my experience of watching SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE. And I’ve learned a lot too. Through the pre-performance video and post-performance judges critique the viewer at home better understands what technically and emotionally makes a routine stand out. I’ve learned about lines and angles, and characteristics that are inherent to certain dances like the Argentine Tango and the Quick Step. And after years of watching the show, I can now sit at home and play amateur judge because I know what to look for. Armed with that (very little) knowledge I can better understand and appreciate the judges commentary and ultimately their decisions when it came to the competition aspects. And again all this has led to a greater understand and appreciation of dance. And THAT is what is missing from SUPERSTARS OF DANCE.

I also took issue with some of the dancers that performed. These were billed as the best of the best from each country. I beg to differ. I saw a lot of sloppy dancing last night. I mean Katee & Joshua’s ‘Bollywood’ routine from last season’s SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE was world’s better than last night’s performance by the two women representing India; and Katee & Joshua had less than a week to learn the routine.

And as a flag waving American I have to wonder if contortionist Robert Muraine is the best we have to offer. Really? He’s great at what he does, don’t get me wrong, but we have dance companies all over this country filled with beautiful dancers. Were they all busy? I mean if we were going to have a dancer from SYTYCD couldn’t have it been one of the winners? I’m thinking Benji would have been a better representative than Muraine. I mean that guy didn’t even make the show…he quit.

Some of the routines were just magnificent. The Irish step dancers, the Argentine Tango, the lifts & leaps by the American team, and especially the powerful group routine by the Chinese monks. That dance was spectacular. And of course I was super excited to see SYTYCD alums Pasha and Anya representing Russia. YAY! But in general the level of performance was not what I expected given these are the “best” dancers in the world.


I might give the show one more shot tonight, but I don’ think I’m in this one for the long haul. Sad. Did anyone else want to smack the smug out of the South African judge? Annoying.

Did you watch? Did you like? Will you be watching again? Any standout performances for you?

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12 Responses to “SUPERSTARS OF DANCE Misses the Point”

  1. Jennifer on January 5th, 2009 3:10 pm

    I completely agree. I was so excited to see the variety but got very annoyed/angry at the judges. I don’t watch SYTYCD and don’t have that background but had high hopes for seeing international dances and costumes. It really is a missed opportunity.

  2. Mandy on January 5th, 2009 3:46 pm

    I totally agree with your review. The only time I got really excited was when my BF Pasha came out. I was not expecting to see him. Other than that the show totally fell flat for me. I would love to know the reasons for some of the low scores, etc. I don’t think I’ll be tuning back in tonight.

  3. Courtney on January 5th, 2009 4:06 pm

    Hmmm, good point. I didn’t see last night’s episode, but I saw the commercials and it seemed intriguing. I’m big into dance, but if you’re not actually seeing the whys and hows of the cultures of the international dance companies, why watch?

  4. Sara on January 5th, 2009 7:17 pm

    Is it just me, or was the camera work really distracting? I don’t know. Maybe I’m not giving it enough of a chance because of my frustration with the camera work in SYTYCD, but I found it took away from the performance more often than it added to it. I guess I just think it’s better to watch the dancing shine then get all fancy with the cameras.

  5. Paul on January 5th, 2009 8:20 pm

    Never saw the Russian or India dances , although the scores were posted. The US tap dancer routine was shown twice.

    They couldn’t have been the world’s best dancers – they were nothing special.

    I only watched the first hour. I will not be watching any future shows!


  6. Jackie on January 5th, 2009 8:52 pm

    It’s wasn’t just you. I watched it last night and I also thought that the performers could have done a lot better since they are the best of the best. I also don’t see how you can have an international competition of dance when all the countries dances are drastically different. Also, I thought the show ran really slowly because I was falling asleep toward the end of the show.

  7. Brianna on January 6th, 2009 3:35 am

    I agree! Both my mother and I are avid fans of SYTYCD and we agreed that we would watch Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill instead after last night’s tragic viewing. There was no rhyme or reason to the scoring and the cameras pulled away from the couple making even passionate dances appear without. I guess I will wait until May to fill the dancing void!

  8. Michele on January 6th, 2009 9:02 am

    I am another huge SYTYCD fan, and after 5 minutes I tuned out last night. Just wasn’t impressed. I may give it another shot tonight, since there is not much else on (Oh Thursday, where are you?!) but if hubby breaks out the Wii, I think I’m in.

  9. Patty on January 6th, 2009 4:26 pm

    I agree! I love SYTYCD and even Dancing with the Stars. These are not the best of the best. I did watch both nights but I tivo-d and FF through just about everything but the dances. The judges did provide a little more commentary in the second night and sometimes the country captain pushed back but it was done really poorly. And who thought Michael Flatly could host a show? it’s really awful…I will probably continue to watch just to see who wins and to see if the dancing improves, it’s not so bad on FF. The American group dance last night was very good.

  10. Why Superstars of Dance Was Not So Super « Dance Advantage on January 8th, 2009 3:30 am

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  11. Renee Rothman on January 12th, 2009 6:35 pm

    I agree with you entirely. I have seen many more proficient ethnic dancers at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival: and they aren’t drawn from the whole world but from Northern California alone. I felt left out of the SuperStars competition. There is no way and no time for us to develop favorites. No time even for the dancers to develop a whole piece. Some of the solos stopped so abruptly that I thot they had forgotten to finish.
    It is a great disappointment, tho I am grateful that they made the attempt at all. Looking forward to SYTYCD and ABDC.
    Meanwhile, think globally and dance locally,

  12. Tink on January 12th, 2009 6:48 pm

    I agree with much of what has been said and it is a shame – this show could have been so much more than just a cultural expose’. Being a professional dancer/instructor/choreographer/producer & director, I can tell you that the reason we all enjoy SYTYCD more is due in large part to the Choreographers. There are dancers on Super Stars that are highly capable dancers, however, as many of he judges have expressed, the routines lack dance content, ie choreography. Like a movie with a thin script, the effect falls flat.